DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke's shooting cooled as the game wore on while its defense had trouble consistently slowing down Gardner-Webb's hot shooting.
Then again, Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski said, it was an OK performance for a team coming off such a long break.
Freshman Jabari Parker scored 21 points to help No. 8 Duke beat Gardner-Webb 85-66 on Monday night in its first game in nearly two weeks.
After a long layoff, the Blue Devils showed some signs of rust, but got a big night from Andre Dawkins to beat Gardner-Webb, writes C.L. Brown. Story
Andre Dawkins added a season-high 18 points for the Blue Devils (8-2), who hadn't played since beating Michigan on Dec. 3 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
That break, which included final exams, came after a tough stretch of four games in 10 days that included a loss to top-ranked Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off championship and a one-point home win over Vermont just before Thanksgiving.
"You don't stop playing for two weeks and not have some slippage," Krzyzewski said. "But overall I was pleased with our team."
Duke won't have to wait nearly as long to get back on the court. The Blue Devils face UCLA on Thursday in New York in their last game before the Christmas holiday.
Duke had its good and bad moments in this one, though it led by a comfortable margin all game. The offense roared to a fast start with accurate shooting and unselfish basketball, though things slowed down after halftime.
The defense didn't do much to slow the Runnin' Bulldogs (6-6) in the first half, but Krzyzewski said the Blue Devils played better on that end in the second half.
Duke led by 14 points at halftime and by 23 in the second half on the way to earning its 108th straight home nonconference victory.
Parker said the Blue Devils had a "a little bit of a setback" when it came to talking to each other on the defensive end.
"For the Michigan game we were really awake and aware of their players," Parker said. "But this game we kind of let them go to their tendencies and we saw it played out well for them."
Quinn Cook, who had 16 points and nine assists for Duke, noticed something else as the Blue Devils couldn't miss on the offensive end through the first 141⁄2 minutes.
"I think when we get it going offensively like that, we kind of get lazy on defense," Cook said. "We had it going early so we got lazy. But at some point, we've got to just get it out of our system."
Duke made 17 of its first 23 shots (74 percent) with 14 assists on those baskets before finishing the half at nearly 59 percent. The Blue Devils shot just 8 for 22 (36 percent) after halftime and finished the game at 50 percent, though they hit nine 3-pointers and converted 15 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points.
Jerome Hill scored a career-high 22 points on 9-for-10 shooting to go with nine rebounds to lead Gardner-Webb, which shot nearly 63 percent in the opening half before finishing at 54 percent for the game.
"We played pretty good offensively the entire first half," Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft said. "Unfortunately we couldn't get any stops on the other end."
NORTHWESTERN 86, MISS. VALLEY STATE 64
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Drew Crawford scored a season-high 26 points and Northwestern beat Mississippi Valley State 86-64.
Alex Olah and Tre Demps scored 18 and Sanjay Lumpkin had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern (6-5), which was playing without guard JerShon Cobb. The Wildcats' second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game, Cobb was in a walking boot and didn't play because of a sprained left ankle he suffered during practice Thursday. He is day-to-day.
Crawford added 10 rebounds and moved up to seventh in school history in points, passing Kevin Rankin (1,575). Crawford also set a season-high for the Wildcats, who had one of their best shooting nights of the season.
MVSU was led by James Currington's 14 points and 13 rebounds. Cameron Dobbs scored 12 for the Delta Devils, who were playing just their second game in a 17-day span and had a two-game winning streak snapped.
AKRON 74, ORAL ROBERTS 64
AKRON -- Quincy Diggs scored 19 points and Demetrius Treadwell had 18 with 11 rebounds as Akron put away Oral Roberts 74-64 Monday night.
The Zips (4-2) broke a 52-all tie midway through the second half as Reggie McAdams drained two 3-pointers.
Oral Roberts (5-6) cut the deficit to two after a Shawn Glover dunk, but Akron surged away from there with a 14-4 run capped off by a dunk from Nick Harney to grab their largest lead, 73-61 with 1:04 remaining.
Akron shot 43.9 percent from the field and hit six 3-pointers to the Golden Eagles' one. Diggs was 8 of 10 from the line and had seven rebounds. Harney was the third Zips player in double figures with 11 points.
Oral Roberts had a similar shooting percentage of 42.6 percent, but committed 20 turnovers. Glover finished with 21 points and Korey Billbury added 14 with seven boards.
CLEVELAND STATE 66, WESTERN CAROLINA 55
CLEVELAND -- Sebastian Douglas made all six of his field goal attempts, scoring 16 points to lead Cleveland State to a 66-55 victory over Western Carolina.
Anton Grady scored 13, Bryn Forbes and Trey Lewis each added 11 for Cleveland State (5-5).
Trey Sumler led Western Carolina (5-7) with 21 points.
Western Carolina held a 22-14 lead with 7:35 remaining in the first half. The Vikings then went on an 11-3 run to tie the score at 25 with 4:19 remaining and took a 32-30 lead into the break.
The Catamounts retook the lead early in the second half. James Sinclair hit a 3-pointer to give Western Carolina a 42-38 lead at the 16:20 mark of the second half. The Vikings answered with a Lewis 3-point shot, four straight free throws, a Grady tip in and a Lewis layup to grab the lead for good, 49-42.
OAKLAND 90, ILLINOIS STATE 75
ROCHESTER, Mich.-- Tommie McCune scored nine of his 16 points right after halftime as Oakland got hot and broke open a two-point game to beat Illinois State, 90-75.
The Golden Grizzlies were up just 40-38 at halftime when McCune, Corey Petros and Kahlil Felder sparked a 14-2 run and Oakland (3-9) was never threatened again. Travis Bader led all scorers with 21 points, Petros added 18 with 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season, and Felder and Duke Mondy scored 12 each. Bader also grabbed 11 boards for his first double-double.
Daishon Knight and Paris Lee scored 14 apiece for the Redbirds (5-5), who shot just 38 percent from the field, despite hanging close through the first half. By contrast Oakland made 31 of 56 field goals for 55.4 percent. The Grizzlies also enjoyed a 44-29 rebounding edge, outscoring Illinois State 42-16 in the paint.